Maraschino is a common name for colorless liqueurs with an almond flavor from maraschino cherries. The name is not a registered trademark and is not protected on a regional basis, which means that the inscription “Maraschino” can be used by any manufacturer, regardless of the country. Made according to classical technology, the liquor has a strength of 32 degrees (sometimes a little less) and is produced mainly in Italy, although the birthplace of the drink is the Croatian city of Zadar.
Maraschino cherry is a Balkan variety of berries with a specific tart-bitter taste, which grows only on the Adriatic coast. The distinctive features of the species are small fruits, dryish flesh and a bitter taste. The name “Marasca” comes from the Latin root amarus (“bitter”) and is perfectly suitable for describing the berry itself and the liqueur obtained from it.
The oldest surviving Maraschino recipe dates back to the 16th century. At that time, a fragrant drink made from maraschino cherries was made by Dominican monks. The first industrial manufacturer was the Venetian merchant Francesco Drioli, who opened a small factory in 1759 in the city of Zara (old name of Zadar), the capital of the Balkan region of Dalmatia, at that time it was the territory of the Republic of Venice. By the end of the XVIII century, Maraschino liqueur became popular throughout Europe, especially in England.
As early as 1779, advertisements appeared in the London press calling on British aristocrats to taste the imported Maraschino liqueur from Zara. Especially the advertising praised the delicate and refined taste. The exotic drink enjoyed the love and patronage of the noblest nobility, including the royal House of Britain. The downside of this success was the increased number of forgeries and related lawsuits, legal proceedings continued for many years, even after the closure of the Francesco Drioli factory in 1980.
Maraschino was traditionally bottled in greenish Murano glass with straw braid: this container easily endured long sea voyages, preserved the aroma and taste of the drink.
The end of the” golden age ” was the Second World War, when many members of the Luxardo family died, and the city fell to Yugoslavia. The three manufacturers fled to Italy and there, having split up, tried to revive the business in the places of Mira (near Venice), Torrella (near Padua) and Bologna.
By 1946, Vittorio Drioli had restored the brand to its former glory and popularity. The manufacturer managed to find a middle ground between following the age-old traditions and the modernization necessary for post-war Europe. Vittorio was the last direct heir of Francesco, and after his death in 1980, the company ceased to exist, and the main manufacturer became the Luxardo factory (the brand is primarily known for its sambuca).
Maraschino production technology
The “business card” of Maraschino-a delicate, recognizable taste with a slight almond tint is due not only to the cherry variety, but also to the peculiarities of the production of liqueur. First, the distillate of berries (pure cherry moonshine without sugar) is infused for several months on pressed cherry stones of the same variety. The result is a slight bitterness. Then, for three years, the drink is aged in ash barrels, which softens the taste.
If everything is done correctly, you will get a strong (32%), colorless liqueur-ash wood contains a minimum of tannins, so it does not change the color of the distillate. Production standards prohibit the addition of fruit essences or juices to the finished Maraschino, but allow the introduction of a small amount of sugar syrup. Still, the drink is positioned as a liqueur, and should be at least a little sweet.
The most famous and expensive brand is Luxardo Maraschino, which accounts for up to 85% of the global market. Next comes Maraska Maraschino – the production is still located in Croatia. Completing the top three popular brands Lazzaroni Maraschino-a product of the Italian manufacturer, slightly less strong than its counterparts (only 25 degrees).
How to drink Maraschino
Maraschino is rarely drunk in its pure form, so it is difficult to talk about any special culture of consumption. Much more often, a couple of drops of liqueur are added to coffee or used as an ingredient in cocktails. Maraschino is also used for gastronomic purposes: for baking, sauces,salad dressing.
Cocktails with Maraschino
No solid bar can be considered truly stocked without this cherry liqueur.
- “Aviation»: mix in a shaker 2.5 parts lemon juice, 3.5 parts dry gin, one part “Maraschino” and sugar syrup. Pour into a serving glass.
- Honolulu: Mix one part of Maraschino and Amaretto, and 2 parts of gin in a shaker and serve with ice.
- “Last word”: mix equal parts of gin, green French liqueur Chartreuse, Maraschino and lemon juice in a serving glass, add crushed ice.